Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 80th Birthday, Boss!

George M. Steinbrenner turns 80 today, something that would be unimaginable if not for his obvious ill health.

I have vivid memories of the 1990s Steinbrenner, both good (crying when Bud Selig presented him with one of the four World Series trophies his teams would win that decade) and bad (lashing out at Derek Jeter for partying too much). To me, Steinbrenner was always characterized by his unflinching belief that failure is not an option and his willingness to do whatever it took to ensure his team would win.

But in reading Bill Madden's book Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, I'm learning a lot more about Steinbrenner than I ever knew (I promise to write a post as soon as I finish the book). It turns out the memories that I have don't even compare to the Steinbrenner of the 1970s and 1980s, who by all accounts was both a vicious, manipulator and a strong leader through times of crisis, most notably the death of New York Yankees Captain Thurman Munson.
Although Steinbrenner has long ceded control of the team to his sons Hal and Hank and mostly faded from view, he is still the omnipresent figure in the lives of all Yankee fans. Along with all the bad, Steinbrenner brought a lot of good to the city of New York and for that we should all be grateful.

Happy Birthday, Boss!

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